1972-73

PLAYERS 18,870                                                                      TEAMS 1,258

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRESIDENT  HANS STERLE                         VICE PRESIDENT

SECRETARY                                                    TREASURER FRANK PISCIOTTA

 
The ninth year of AYSO soccer, 1972-73, became the year of transition; no longer would AYSO have to find its place in the foundation of an evolving American soccer culture but instead the crossroads leading into an unblievable future would be revealed. The AYSO Philosophies beginning with EVERYONE PLAYS was now accompanied by additional philosophies that ensure growth and most importantly on an American path. The AYSO youth to high school phase was well underway and now AYSO player graduates would be fully involved. It is important to remember the most influential part of former foreign soccer players being the mainstaty in the AYSO coaching ranks during the earliest of years and the mixture of various ethnic backgrounds in this coaching staff resulted in a search for an American uniqueness in the play on the field and fulfillment of demands for an acceptance by a majority of the sports minded in the USA. The American AYSO Soccer Moms and Dads who relished the other sports that they excelled in, in their youth, were now the majority of coaches, referees, and administrators and this newly developed American Culture was invading youth soccer. 
 
In most every foreign country, soccer was the primary sport and enveloped each entire country with the totality of youth and adults therein concentrating on the development of their youth while competition from other sports was minimal. The sport  of soccer in Amnerca was initially destined to a minor involvement and the distraction by all the ethnic groups from battling amongst themselves for their interpretation of play and organization, in reality, stifled the growth of soccer in the Americas.  AYSO in the USA had to develop her own approach and the melting of all ethnic factors was to be accomplished first before the American Way would succeed. True, soccer on the USA East Coast flourished here and there but the unity of all resulted in more than one century being under control of special interests. AYSO was a necessity in capturing the strength inherent in this sports minded country with its multiple advantages that would emanate from the immigrants of many countries. As you read the history story of the Pioneers of AYSO you will evidence the first five years of primarily foreign born coaches , referees, and administrators and slowly but aggressively American born soccer supporters entered to "work together" with the foreign born. It is this sound beginning of "soccer traditionalists" and their expertise and the welding together with the new found "soccer enthusiasts" that generated the success route for AYSO.    
 
In year 1969-70 with four foreign born engineers and four American born engineers at Garrett-AiResearch Company in Torrance, California under the guidance of two American born commissioners, AYSO catapulted forward not only by their South Bay of Los Angeles becoming the heart and blood stream of AYSO but also the veins of growth nationnally. The Aero Space engineers were not only engineering the "life support system of Apollo" to the moon but also the invasion of AYSO into many States of America. Soon, these commissioners would be elevated into AYSO National Office and men like Ron Littlefair, Alex Anderson, Dick Smisek, etc., of that Aero Space time period, would continue reaching out across the nation. Armed with financial support from every California AYSO region, Ron Littlefair and others would travel across the country not only carrying their early years of AYSO experience but most importantly the proven American Ways of  AYSO Philosophies that resulted in tens thousands of Californian AYSO players graduating into the next level of soccer.
 
By 1971, AYSO  had matured with strength. The addition of AYSO girls' soccer would compliment the AYSO Family with a full force of involvement  and while the girls would eventually impact the Olympic and World Cup, soccer was moving upward at all levels. Colleges and professional leagues would soon find attendance growth, television stations would commence broadcasting soccer games not only from the American games but also the soccer games in other countries. Much credit is to be given to the American Way for sports at the high school, college, and professional levels, but those of us inviolved in the youth level of soc cer knew that we had to succeed first at the youth foundation level. The potential of soccer in the Americas was inviting to all concerned. As long as the AYSO Philosophy of EVERYONE INVITED continues and every State of the USA is involved, soccer will be received as an American Sport and especially in the hearts and souls of every AYSO player and graduate. The Pioneers of AYSO, past and present, look forward to future Pioneers who love the sport of soccer and the benefits to the youth of America.    
 
1972-73, the ninth year pf AYSO, succeeded because the AYSO regions were coming of age; no longer would the administrators in new regions have to start from scratch. Rules and regulations, by-laws, were not only set in place but also tested to ensure the optimum path. Affiliated soccer decreased their opposition to AYSO and would adjust their organization to include the "attitude" founded in AYSO.  While affiliated soccer would continue to seek their route for development of player skills, AYSO would accelerate the search for gifted players from quantity and together, affiliated and un-affiliated, would have to succeed by covering the entire Americas. The history of the first nine years would require a volume set of books to portray the activities at both the National and Regional levels. A few of the Pioneers of AYSO stories would include the following: 
  
Finances would always be a critical factor. The AYSO player insurance  program initially established by Ron Littlefair, Regional commissioner of the Torrance/South Bay Region in 1968-69 would solve an early financial challenge to growth. For years, AYSO was insured where the premiums ($2/player) were sent to the insurance company and benefits were paid to the players. Ron Lttlefair, Torrance AYSO Pioneer, an insurance agent for Colonial Insurance Company, had established an AYSO self-insurance program in that families with appropriate insurance programs would be implemented first and then accidents were covered by the players’ AYSO  insurance plan. The AYSO self-insurance program allowed the unused portion of the annual insurance program income to be directed to national growth and the funds made available to benefit the total AYSO program. This AYSO National Office program became oneof the major financial operations that allowed for the soccer growth nationwide. The AYSO autonomous operation of key cost-items and cost-activities became a source of solving financial needs of AYSO and its growth. Some activities such as the high-cost of soccer goal posts were solved by AYSO dedicated individuals such as the manufacture of over 200 sets of goals posts by Joe Bonchonsky and sons. The first 15 sets welded by Herb Schoenfeld of North Torrance were delivered free to Torrance/South Bay fields. The rapid growth of AYSO allowed Joe Bonchonsky to establish a not-for-profit Company that resulted in the manufacture of 200 sets of goal posts delivered south to the Mexican border cities and north to San Luis Obispo. More than $200 were saved per goal post set to each AYSO region.

Uniforms and soccer balls were expensive. Bill Hughes, one of the five founders of AYSO formed a company, MODSOC, appointed Joe Bonchonsky president, H.Y.Hung vice-president, and Bill Hughes, general manager. MODSOC hired 23 seamstresses, rented a building at Torrance Blvd. and Normandie in the City of Torrance, and manufactured top quality, unique AYSO designed uniforms, providing the highest of competition to uniform manufacturers. MODSOC, via H.Y.Hung, purchased thousands of the highest quality leather soccer balls to allow each youth an affordable soccer ball of the highest quality to practice with at home. Other companies competed financially in quality and within years MODSOC terminated with a job well done and standards of equipment elevated. The objectives of MODSOC to assist and support AYSO were fulfilled.

Finances will always present challenges as AYSO parents prefer the best in equipment, fields, coaching and referee schools, etc. The key to AYSO growth was not only the many individuals who utilized their business acumen but also the parents who volunteered their services especially at the regional and team level therein.

Beginning in 1968, the AYSO Torrance/South Bay Region formed the Torrance Soccer Parents Organization and not only raised funds by a membership fee, ($5), but also gathered Team Sponsors ($150.00) for each team to finance the addition of soccer balls, goal posts for additional fields, uniforms, growth activities, etc.  The active parent participation became a most important standard in the growth of AYSO soccer.  The example of the parents in the Torrance/South Bay region encouraged the participation of many parents therein and increased growth resulted.

In the 1972-73 AYSO California season, AYSO was now better positioned to provide multiple services to those who wished to start an AYSO program in their State. In addition to “start funds" the experience gathered assisted in avoiding the normal pitfalls. 
 
Most importantly, the AYSO father and mother of an AYSO player who moved to another State, often necessitated by job relocation, requested AYSO assistance to commence an AYSO program in their new location. Soon, the success of youth in soccer would travel to many States.
 
As you read the PIONEER STORY of AYSO, be mindful that while it is a youth soccer organization, the key to its remarkable success has always been the relationship between parents and players. In the years prior to AYSO, many well-intended parents tried their level best to initiate youth soccer programs and some succeeded. But it was the unique ability of AYSO to grow in an Americanized environment that allowed for a unique start. With East Coast transplants and native Californians, the best of the country cooperated in the unique EVERYONE PLAYS approach to youth soccer and the result is noted in the success of AYSO and its impact at all levels.
 
By 1972, not only was AYSO growing the youth soccer program but also the AYSO graduates were now filtering into the high schools and with an oversupply of players, the parents impacted the school boards to provide the necessary facilities and services. In 1964, Southern California (Los Angeles)  had only six Catholic high schools with soccer programs. Soon thereafter, because of AYSO graduates, every public high school in Southern California had Boy’s soccer and 90% had Girl’s soccer programs.
 
The growth of AYSO soccer into the high schools would soon flow into the college programs and by 2014, AYSO 50TH Anniversary, millions of AYSO graduates would assist in filling the stadiums of professional soccer.
 
The visible problems of soccer in other countries with their negative occasions have to be avoided. Many AYSO experienced coaches, referees, and administrators have gained the knowledge to counter those problems. In addition, the low scoring, defense advantaged, games would require continued influence by the Ameruican entudiasts. It is quite common in all sports to fault the referee but in soccer, television now produces a factor that must be conquered, the unseen delibrate foul. The fact that the foul was unseen due to the archaic referee system was blamed on the ref but in fact the "referee system" was at fault and continues to this day. Traditional soccer personnel insist on their traditions despite the cost but Americans, un-tarnished by tradition, but thoroughly ingrained in "fair play," undertake measures to test for the improvement of the enforcement of laws. The text , herein, of the 1973-74 Pioneers of AYSO Story, illustrate the potential of improving the Refereee System. The resulting improved "fair plat" scoring game will further increase the "love of soccer" in the Americas.  
 
 
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